Midnight Light, part 1

The following is an excerpt from the free Advent devotional Darkness & Light; download your free copy today.

December 10

Midnight Light, part 1

by Meridith Matson

The Jewish holocaust during World War 2 is perhaps one of the darkest times in most recent history. The mass murder of over 6 million Jews and other persecuted demographics left a haunting mark over human history. Humans killing and dehumanizing other humans is truly the darkest darkness that exists. The images and films of those beaten in the streets, taken captive, and forced into concentration camps, and the bare, skeletal ghosts of those who were still alive in these camps at the end of the war are etched on our minds.

This chapter of history leaves a stain of darkness. A time of “midnight” when it seemed the sun may not ever shine again.

Yet, darkness is where the light shines through. In the darkest darkness, sparks of hope still existed. Etched on the wall of a cellar in a concentration camp, these words of an unknown prisoner were found:

“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining.
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.”

Reflection: In what ways have you had to wrestle with belief versus reality in your own times of darkness?

And we’re back…

I’ve been away from the blog for a while – well to be honest the last year (or more) I’ve struggled to keep up because life is busy, and my constant thoughts rarely make it on to paper (or a word doc).  However, a lot has happened over the past few months/couple years, so I DO have good reasons for my absence.  Instead of telling you, I’ll show you life in photos…

I shall soon return (I promise).  I can’t NOT blog… with my constant stream of theological thoughts and discussions forever in my head, or out loud with my husband.  I’ll be back!

Malaysia, January 2016IMG_2998.jpg

Home in KoreaIMG_3584.jpg

Looking down from BukansanIMG_3127.jpg

Family, December 2016IMG_6701.JPG

Scott and I at the North Korea boarder, Spring 2017IMG_7299.jpg

Saying goodbye to Korea, my home for 2 years, June 2017IMG_1310.jpgIMG_8231.jpg

Most certainly the best day of my life, with many more to come, July 8, 2017AnnabelMayPhotoArt-134.jpgAnnabelMayPhotoArt-293.jpgAnnabelMayPhotoArt-267.jpgannabelmayphotoart.com 

until it happens

Isn’t it funny?
Everything seems like a great idea
until it happens.

Move across the country and attend seminary..
but leave all your friends and family behind.
Move across the country so you can [potentially] meet your spouse..
but have everyone you’ve loved and longed for leave or let you down.
Move across the world to do ministry and be near your family…
but live with questions and fears whether it was really the right thing.

I live in the tension
of the life I long to live
and the life I’m living right now.
As if these two were so different
but sometimes they are in my mind.

Faced with a choice and decision that will impact the destination of the next chapter.

Move back to the land of barrenness and heartache…
to perhaps grasp what I’ve been reaching for.
Move to a land unknown full of possibilities…
only to be left alone, with myself and my thoughts.

Reaching forward and reaching back
cannot be done at the same time,
you must choose: future or past.
Which will dictate your path?
The choices you didn’t choose, or the chances you did take?

Perhaps all that we long for and all that we hope,
are right in front of us, right under our nose.
Perhaps the person we are and the person we long to be
are one in the same,
and the tension of both can become one.

It’s not really funny
many things seem like great ideas
until reality sets in
until it happens.
But the true treasure lies in your moments and days
embracing today while it is still called “today.”


from death to life


Letting go.
Letting things die
so i can live..
so I can really live, again.

There is life, even in death
because some things need to die, so other things can live
like dreams

But why do we keep praying for clarity?
We are never promised clarity
But … but
we can walk by faith, and not by sight
we can choose trust instead of the questions

And somehow in the mess
there is beauty
in the ashes
and in the end
we may experience a joy that only comes from Him in the midst of the
madness, chaos, confusion and doubt..

and a seed of joy is planted
growing bit by bit
sprouting into a tree.  A tree of life.  Again.


Death is such a funny thing, I mean, funny in a not so funny way.  I tend to stay far away from hospitals, breathing apparatuses… and just everything of that genre.

But the other day, I had to go to the hospital to visit my Aunt (actually my great Aunt, but we always just called her Aunt, like the regular kind), and have yet another encounter and be near death.  It’s been just over a year since my Grandma passed away, but the feeling is still all too real, even as I was missing her today.

Anyway, hospitals.  I don’t think I’ve been to the hospital to visit someone since my Grandpa died, in the summer of 2006, but walking in through those double doors, and down the hall to ICU only brought back memories of him, and of course my Grandma.

I tried not to think about it, but when my Mom called as I was working yesterday, I knew why she was calling.  I work at the church, so I had already heard the situation was critical, but still, I agreed to visit the hospital in my parents brief absence, even though she was sedated at the time.  I went about my work, then threw on my jacket, and decided just to walk over, since the hospital isn’t far from the church.  On the way, I really didn’t think about how it would feel, I didn’t want to.  But then again, maybe I just shouldn’t think about it, since it wasn’t really about ME at all.

I stayed for maybe an hour, visiting with her caregiver, and another relative (I honestly can’t even tell you how she’s related to us… we have so many interesting extended family connections, and just don’t really know them too well).

Her breathing and heart rate was irregular, but the only thing I could think about was my Grandpa, and remembering seeing him in a similar fashion, almost 6 years ago.

I wasn’t close with my Aunt, we never spent much time with her, you know, life is busy. My Dad knew her well and cared for her a lot over these past 8 or so years, when her health worsened.

Death is just so interesting, not funny, just so weird and intriguing.  I’m so uncomfortable being around it, because it just seems so wrong to sit in the same room where someone is dying and reminisce, laugh, tell stories about their lives, and be… so alive.

Someday I will die, and actually it will be a beautiful thing.  Seeing the face of God, seeing relatives that I’ve seen pass onto the other side.  It will be amazing.  But the scary, and more sobering thing to think about now is that so many around us don’t know Christ, and will not have heaven to look forward to.  They won’t experience a beautiful death, they don’t know what it’s like to have the peace of God.  This has been a topic of conversation with friends lately, and just realize the fragility of life.

Every breath is life, and a second chance to start again.  Just remember that, as you live and dance your way to death.

lessons learned

I’ve been in a jet-lag haze for the past week.  Yesterday morning was the first morning I woke feeling semi-normal.  But even that was waking up at 5:30 am.  I’m ready for normal, calm, peace.  Yeah right, that won’t be happening until… maybe July.

I hit the ground running Monday.  Ate lunch, unpacked, did laundry, worked out, then slept, sorta.  Meetings all week, extra rehearsals, more meetings, more planning.  It’s exhausting, but at the same time it’s good.  I’m glad to be here.

Many things were pressed into my heart while I was away, and when I returned, I returned with a desire and flame to be here, where I know God wants me.  There’s a lot I could say, but I don’t want to bore you all.  Let’s just say the ways I thought God was leading when I left, were just not really what I thought.  I like to plan, I like to dream, I love thinking about the future, but in the midst of all the planning, I forgot to remain in the present.  Even while I was on my trip, I really have a habit of not remaining in the here and now, and, well for now on, it’s a discipline for me.

Psalm 90 speaks a lot about who God is, and who we are in light of him.  But I love verse 12- teach us to realize the brevity of life that we may gain a heart of wisdom (sorry that may not be exact.. too tired to move right now and check).

Life is precious, never forget that.  Be you.  And be right where you are, right now.


Memories and images of you and i
like a dream you always have
but seem to forget when you awake
and hope it isn’t real

Saying goodbye again and again
but realizing you left when i began to speak
or that you were never really there
just an image

If i had never met you
i’d never know how strong i am
But now  the memories are faded
yet brought back to life again, today

But you seek the comfort of having someone near
even if it breaks her heart
or any heart
you don’t really seem to care

All that matters is the illusion of happiness
superficial joy
but i know you are still searching
i know deep inside you are always confused

For we cannot move forward
until we embrace our pain
You will never forgive her unless you try
and i can only try to forgive you, with a sorry-less goodbye

Though the blood has long been healed
my scar still remains
though i’m sure you will never know
or probably care

i wish you the best
i hope you can find yourself
i hope you begin to know how to feel
and forgive, start there.

the paradox

One of the greatest mysteries
is the revealed
and the concealed, in life.

We serve a God of mystery and concealment,
but also a God of revelation,
who longs to reveal himself
to us.

But life continues to be filled with the juxtaposition of paradox.
We live in the mystery.
We live in the concealed.
The veil.  We live behind the veil.

Life is simple.  We can choose to live in faith, or we can choose to live in fear.
One of the great paradoxes.
Because if we do not actively choose faith
by default,
we have already chosen fear.

Our world wants to live in fear.  In the “what ifs?” and the “maybes”.
In the “30% chance this” or “1 in every 8 people that”

But the truth is we are all dying.  One way or the other.
Every breath is a second chance.

I’m beginning to see life differently.
It wasn’t that I chose fear in other times,
but there have certainly been many times that I did not choose what I should have:

So, I choose to believe.
No matter what the outcome
no matter what the percentage
no matter what the cost.
I’m choosing faith.

Faith that HE is bigger than my humanity
Faith that mountains can be moved
Faith that HE is right beside me
Faith to believe HE has me exactly where I’m supposed to be

We walk by faith, not by sight.